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B.C. mine operator vows to fight project’s rejection

Jeremy Nuttall

By Jeremy Nuttall, 24 hours Vancouver

Minister of Health Leona Aglukkaq. (Craig Robertson/QMI Agency)

Minister of Health Leona Aglukkaq. (Craig Robertson/QMI Agency)

A day after a proposed mine in central B.C. was rejected by Ottawa, the project’s proprietor said it will rely on a court action announced in December to reverse the decision and may add a second action.

On Wednesday, the New Prosperity Mine was officially denied by Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq months after the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency released an unfavourable report concluding the copper-gold mine project would damage the local environment.

“The Minister of the Environment has concluded that the New Prosperity Mine project is likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects that cannot be mitigated,” said the ministry in a release. “The Governor in Council has determined that those effects are not justified in the circumstances; therefore, the project may not proceed.”

In response, Taseko Mines, the company behind the project located west of Williams Lake, said it would rely on a judicial review it filed, alleging the assessment of the proposal was fundamentally flawed.

Brian Battison told 24 hours on Thursday the government hasn’t heard the last of Taseko Mines.

“Saying no is just not acceptable,” said the Taseko Mines vice president of corporate affairs. “And when we say that this is not the end, ultimately the court will decide on whether this panel process was fair and appropriate.”

Battison said now that a decision based on the assessment was made it will apply to launch another judicial review that will likely be linked to the first review in court.

To date, the project, which the Vancouver-based Taseko Mines was prepared to invest more than $1 billion in, has twice been ruled against by provincial and federal environmental regulators.

Both were worried the mine would hurt water quality and animal populations.

Sierra Club BC executive director Bob Peart hoped the government has in fact heard the last of the project.

“I really hope the governments who are involved and the company kind of wake up and realize sometimes a project is the wrong project in the wrong place and it shouldn’t happen,” he said. “This is one of those projects.”

For now, Battison vowed the company would turn to the courts to determine if the mine proposal has been buried.

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